• Kyodo

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A former NHK reporter charged with raping three women pleaded not guilty Tuesday during a hearing at the Yamagata District Court.

Yasutaka Tsurumoto, 29, told the court he “did not do anything” and that all of the allegations “are wrong.”

Defense lawyers tried to cast doubt on the credibility of DNA analysis performed on samples left at the three crime scenes.

The indictment alleges that Tsurumoto broke into the rooms of the women, all in their 20s, and sexually assaulted them in three separate incidents — in Yamagata in February 2016 and in Yamanashi Prefecture in October 2014 and December 2013. Two of the three women were injured during the alleged rapes.

Prosecutors said the former reporter raped one of the women, whose underwear he had earlier stolen from her home while she was away, after getting to know her during reporting work in 2014.

Tsurumoto worked at the Yamanashi bureau of the public broadcaster between 2011 and 2015 before moving to the Yamagata bureau in July 2015. He was dismissed in February 2017 after his arrest.